THE phenomenon in which fish and other marine species are washed ashore during algae blooms is a yearly occurrence in Namibia, with many residents of the harbour towns rushing to the beach to collect the “free catch” for consumption.
The Minister of Fisheries, Derek Klazen, has, however, said that the ministry is yet to determine whether fish and other species washed ashore are fit for human consumption.
The minister explained that the ministry hosted an Expert Mission to support molecular biological analytical work on harmful algal bloom within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) technical cooperation project called “Enhancing National Capacity for Contaminant and Adulteration Monitoring of Marine and other Food Products for Consumer Protection” between 7 and 13 October 2022.
The technical expert, Dave Clarke from Marine Institute in Galway, Ireland mission, was sponsored by the IAEA to train Namibian officials on harmful algae.
“Two of our staff members were awarded a three-week fellowship sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency to attend training on molecular techniques for harmful algal bloom scheduled to take place from 3 to 21 April 2023 at the Foras na Mara – Marine Institute in Galway, Ireland, within the framework of the IAEA technical cooperation project NAM5019,” Klazen said.
In addition to this, the ministry hosted a validation and inter-calibration workshop on harmful algal blooms (HABs) by Dr. Jacob Larson from the Oceanographic Commission (IOC) – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at the National Marine Information and Research Centre (NatMIRC) in Swakopmund during the period of 30 January to 10 February 2023.
Klazen explained that this exercise is vital in capacity building for the ministries’ staff members in culturing, taxonomy and identification of harmful algae, planktonic species.
File photo for illustrative purposes only.